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Madden NFL 2011: Are You Ready For Some Football?

KevinG4
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Posted August 10, 2010 - By Kevin Kelly






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Madden NFL 2011: Are You Ready For Some Football?

I never thought that one day a 74-year-old former coach would be one of the driving forces behind a large chunk of the video game industry, but here we are on a day in 2010 where Madden NFL 2011 comes out and will contribute mightily towards EA's bottom line. BOOM! The game sits atop the cornerstone of American Football, which is practically the sacred cow to pigskin lovers, and with this being the 22nd game, it shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.

This is one of those titles that many gamers look forward to every year, and in some cases it might be the only game they purchase. Can you fault them? For some people, this is their Halo. Their God of War. Their Mario. If you're not busy gameflowing through a match right now or stacking up your playbook to be heavy on the play-action passes, take a look at some of the important milestones in this series.

Madden NFL 2011: Are You Ready For Some Football?

  • 1982: Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts, approaches Joe Montana to endorse a new football game that EA is working on. Montana can't do it since he already has an endorsement deal with Atari. Just think you could be rushing out to pick up Joe Montana Football 2011 today.
  • 1984: Trip and Joe Ybarra of EA meet with John Madden on a train (he doesn't like to fly) to plan a Madden-endorsed football video game. Madden is intrigued, but the game goes through a long development process. At times, Madden thinks they've given up on it. EA actually briefly hires Bethesda Softworks to help them finish the game.
  • 1988: John Madden Football is released for the Commodore and the Apple II. Without an NFL license, there were no official team likenesses in it, and players could only play single games. However, it did feature 11 players per team, injuries, penalties, weather conditions, and player fatigue. 
  • The game is later brought to the Sega Genesis, blending the realistic football play with a home console for the first time.
  • 1991: John Madden Football 92 is the first Madden title to have voice commentary, featuring a broadcaster from the fictional "EASN" (EA Sports Network). 
  • 1993: John Madden Football 93 is the first to include brief digitized commentary from the man himself. 
  • 1992: Madden NFL 94 is the first title the include NFL licensing, with all 38 teams in the game, and John Madden takes over full commenting duties. The series also sees a name change.
  • 1996: Madden NFL 97 makes the jump to the PlayStation, and gains a FOX tv presentation and Franchise Mode, allowing players to have multiple seasons, make off-season draft picks, and trade players.
  • 2000: Titans running back Eddie George is featured on the cover of the game, marking the first time a player would grace the cover. Although he had a good season, he bobbled a pass in a playoff game, and the next year his rushing average reached an all-time low. Thus the "Madden Curse" was born.
  • 2001: Duante Culpepper, cover athlete for Madden NFL 2002, had just led the Vikings to the playoffs the previous year, but after appearing on the game the Vikes went 5-11, Culpepper threw 23 interceptions, and broke the record for the most fumbles in a single season. Which pretty much sealed the curse in people's minds.
  • 2002: Madden NFL 2003 goes online for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC, and football games would never be the same. 
  • 2003: Madden NFL 2004 gains the Playmaker tool, which allows you to use the right analog stick to change routes before the snap.
  • 2004: EA releases the Xbox-Live enabled Madden NFL 2005, which would soon dominate the online play charts and is often cited as one of the best games in the series. The game gains the Hit Stick for the first time in an effort to balance out the defense, which was often underwhelming against the offensive weapons. 
  • 2004: Price wars erupt between Take-Two and their ESPN NFL 2K5 series with Madden NFL 2005. Take-Two drops the price of their game to only $20, and EA responds by slashing the price of many sports titles. 
  • December 2004: EA thumbs their nose at the entire gaming world, signs a multi-year exclusivity deal with the NFL.
  • 2005: Madden NFL 06 introduces the Truck Stick, which allows an offensive player to lower his shoulder to break tackles, or juke to avoid them. The game also adds Superstar Mode, which lets you take a rookie from draft day to superstardom. They also drom the "20" from the title, becoming just 06.
  • 2005:  06 also introduces the QB Vision feature, which spotlights a cone representing the QB's "vision." Which was a great way of telegraphing plays to your opponent.
  • 2006: Madden NFL 07 gains Smart Routes for for receivers.
  • 2007: Madden NFL 08 had the "Weapons" feature, which highlights certain player abilities via onscreen icons. Ouch. This didn't last long.
  • 2008: Madden NFL 09 adds Madden IQ, adding a near-RPG element to the game as the player progresses, and EA does not release a PC version for the first time, citing business concerns. This one was also known as the one with the Favre switcheroo cover.
  • 2008: A sad moment for commentary lovers: Madden NFL 09 is John Madden's last game as a commentator.
  • 2009: Madden NFL 2010 adds Cris Collinsworth as commentator, and multiple innovations like the PRO-TAK tackling system which allows up to 9-man gang tackles.
  • 2010: Madden NFL 2011: Probably the best Madden game in years (just check our review!), the game has a new GameFlow system to make playcalling more intuitive, and players who win the Super Bowl in the game meet Barack Obama. In the game. Not real life.

If you want even more Madden history than you can fit into Favre's helmet, check out the incredibly awesome history of the series over on ESPN's blog. It is truly an amazing story, and well worth your time. Then come and find me online (gamertag: shazam) and let's get ready for some football. And yes, I play the Dallas Cowboys, so bring on your Eagles, Steelers, and Redskins. HUT HUT!

Madden NFL 2011: Are You Ready For Some Football?
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